MapCarte 113/365: Desk Globe by Bellerby & Co. Globemakers, 2012


Globes. Possibly the finest representation of the planet in map form that exists. No need to be concerned about the awkward process of mathematically crow-barring the earth’s detail onto a flat map or a computer screen. No digital devices to be bothered with. A simple, spherical, physical model that shows us how the planet actually is – a three-dimensional physical object represented perfectly by a three-dimensional physical object. Most of us at one time or another have spun a globe in a classroom or on a desk. Many of us own a globe…most likely one made of a plastic printed shell, possibly that lights up and if you look closely you’ll likely find lines of latitude that don’t quite line up and overlaps of bits of countries and text. But not all globes are created equally and Peter Bellerby’s globes are exquisite.

In an era where digital is surpassing physical it was a brave man who decided to build his own globe making company. Bellerby did just that in 2008. He wanted to get a globe as a present for his father’s 80th birthday but couldn’t find one suitable…so he set about making his own and thus his company was born. Making globes is no easy task. Making high quality globes even harder and his story is one of dogged persistence in achieving perfection.

Peter Bellerby – The Globemaker from Cabnine.

Bellerby’s collection includes a wide range of globes from the 12″ desk globe shown here to massive 50″ Churchill globes. Each is hand-crafted, involving Formula 1 racing car fabrication techniques (to create a perfect sphere) and then hand painted. As maps they are simply beautiful with colour being expertley applied and labels sitting perfectly across the map. Of course, each globe can be customised to whatever requirements you wish but the standard desk globe is a perfectly balanced piece of work without modification. As a globe, the maps take on an extra dimension quite literally. The exacting construction means the gores line up perfectly and as you’d expect the map itself is based on up-to-date information and correct at the time of construction. The desk version weighs 3kg and sits atop a hand made black walnut plinth housing roller-bearings that allows the globe to glide and rotate effortlessly. This is the very essence of engaging with a map – to touch it and to feel it as you control its movement with perfect fluidity.


You cannot just make a globe without a fine attention to detail. Precision and craftsmanship are what sets these globes apart and makes them not only unique but masterpieces of cartography. These globes are made to last and have brought a dying art back to the fore. Peter Bellerby has resurrected the lost art of high quality globe making and his globes are literally out of this world.

For a more detailed exploration of Bellerby’s history, collection and processes visit his web site here.